Madera High School’s Coyote Drama Productions has put together an evening of chuckles, laughs, and hilarity in its truly funny adaptation of Neil Simon’s “California Suite.”
Directed by Madera High drama teacher Duncan Needham and supported by a competent off-stage crew, the 11 member cast throws caution to the wind and looks at what is definitely the lighter side of life in suite 203-204.
The slapstick comedy takes place in the suite of a luxury hotel in Los Angeles. Each of the four acts has a different story to tell, marking the events of what happens at different times of the year in the exact same hotel room.
The play opens in the autumn with “Visitor from New York.” Hannah Warren (Ashley Bullfinch) has flown from New York to Los Angeles and meets her ex-husband, Bill, (Ricardo Sanchez) ostensibly to retrieve their 17-year-old daughter, Jenny, who has deserted her and gone to live with her successful screenwriter father.
The couple creates a thoroughly enjoyable exchange of repartees to the extent that at times they lose sight of why they are having this meeting in the suite.
The next visitors to the suite arrive around Christmas from Philadelphia. Marvin Michaels (Vince Singsing) checks in the night before his wife, Millie (Regan Dyer) arrives. Unfortunately for him, his brother has arranged for Bunny (Jessica Figueroa) to spend the night with him. He wakes up the next morning, having consumed a bottle of vodka, with Bunny still in his bed. His dilemma turns disastrous when Millie arrives on the scene. Marvin’s attempts to hide Bunny from Millie make for a delightfully funny predicament.
After the intermission, the next visitors to the suite arrive from London in the spring. One is Diana (Taylor Rollins) an actress who has been nominated for an Academy Award that she doesn’t think she is going to get. She is accompanied by her gay husband, Sidney (Matthew Daly) who is beginning to come out of the closet, which only adds to Diana’s problems.
The final act comes in summer when two couples, Mort (Lukas Boehm) and Beth (Avery Pendley) and Stu (Blake Giersch) and Gert (Jill Neufield) take a vacation together and wind up in the suite after Beth is hurt while they are playing tennis. Mort accuses Stu of causing the accident, and things go rapidly downhill from there.
California Suite” opens today at 7:30 p.m. It will have subsequent runs on Saturday at 2 p.m. and March 26, 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30 p.m.
The Coyote Arena Theatre is located next to the cafeteria at Madera High School, 200 L St.
Tickets for the play can be purchased at the door for $5 (students and seniors) and $10 for adults.